Sunday, 5th May 2019 – The Muddy Duck, Hethe
Having tested the “normal” small plates menu at the Muddy Duck a couple of weekends back, we headed that way again over the recent bank holiday weekend to try out Sunday lunch as a birthday celebration for one of our closest friends. Would they measure up? Actually, yes, they could as it turned out.
We arrived slightly ahead of the other half of our party and stopped off in the bar where we sat underneath the rather strange stuffed fox because that was the only place we could find a space unless we wanted to go straight to our table. I have to say our taxidermy friend was even stranger up close than he appeared from a distance, but we didn’t let him put us off our Champagne (they have Lanson by the glass, which is a thing that makes me happy), or for that matter the pint of Old Hooky which R. ordered.
I’d seen the size of other people’s main courses waiting on the pass as we walked into the bar, so I knew I wasn’t going to take on something that was bigger than my head, but the others seemed keen enough. All I could say was. on your own heads be it. We occupied ourselves with the bread and butter (two rounds of “ordinary” butter, one of “Mediterranean” butter which I’m guessing had tomatoes and possibly wild garlic in it though the waitress didn’t know) while we studied the menu and finished our initial round of drinks. For starters Lynne and I agreed we’d share, and so she ordered the Cornish crab with sourdough croute, and charred lemon, which was just as good as it had been at Easter.
Our other starter was a lovely cured ham, three substantial slices of it, with asparagus and a crispy egg. It was very good, the egg yolk perfect for dipping the asparagus spears into, and the egg coating light but crunchy, just what you want from a crispy egg.
It was going well and the only other starter, R’s enormous courgette flower, stuffed with cream cheese and olives, perched on a lake of sun dried tomato putanesca sauce was apparently a hit as well. It certainly vanished pretty rapidly and he wasn’t sharing. Mind you, it was his birthday, so he didn’t have to.
After that pretty much everyone bar me got stuck into the roast lamb, which meant two massive slices of meat, one of the biggest Yorkshire puddings I have EVER seen, and two roast potatoes each. The only disappointment was the potatoes, which were not crisp, possibly because they got used as a prop for the meat slices and so would have lost any crispness they’d started out with pretty rapidly. The rest of it looked extremely good though, especially the selection of vegetables that came with it.
The cauliflower and broccoli cheese was excellent, as was the bowl of carrots, kale and fine green beans, although it was no surprise that we couldn’t finish them all.
I went down an alternative route despite liking a roast as much as the next woman, if not more so. After the Easter weekend I was keen to try the Sunday take on macaroni cheese (mac’n’cheese is far too American really), which was made with a lobster bisque but without the big chunks of lobster you get during the week – mind, it cost £5 less as well so that’s fine with me. It arrived with a pile of lambs lettuce, and two pieces of garlic bread, which in some respects was a serious case of carbohydrate overkill, but which was also gorgeously buttery as well as nicely crisped.
I think if I’d known how big it was going to be, I would not have ordered the cauliflower dish to go with it. It was billed as roasted cauliflower, red pepper romanesco and broccoli, though it was more butternut squash and sweet potato than any of the listed things! Still tasty though.
We drank a bottle of 2017 Doppio Passo Primitivo Puglia IGT between us, a wine which I was pretty sure would appeal to everyone. G & A are not the adventurous wine-drinkers the rest of us are and I wanted something they would also enjoy while keeping in a reasonable (if not cheap) price range and it hit both of those spots squarely.
And so, full and happy, and with the leftovers packed into duck-shaped foil parcels, we wended our way home by a completely different set of single track roads to the ones we’d come in on!